Bio

DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gators record second straight soccer shutout



Two games, two shutouts.
It might seem like an easy thing for Xavier Prep’s soccer team, but it is not. It is not a matter of simply walking onto the field and getting a win. The Gators have put a lot of work in as they begin the season, and it is paying off.
Xavier won its second game of the season on Thursday night (Dec. 3) with a 5-0 defeat of visiting Gilbert Campo Verde. It came on the heels of a 3-0 win at home over Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Tuesday (Dec. 1).
The Gators will have their third game of this first week on Friday night (Dec. 4) a home contest against Phoenix Mountain Pointe.
Campo Verde, which finished as the state runner-up in Division II a season ago, put the pressure on the Gators early on Thursday night and it nearly resulted in a pair of goals. Xavier sophomore goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann came to the rescue with point-blank saves.
Xavier dug in after that and started to play better and with more consistency.
Senior midfielder Lexi Allard broke the ice with a goal a bit less than five minutes into the game. Sophomore Nicole Hook scored on a rebound to make it 2-0 with 36:38 left in the first half.
Campo Verde’s goalkeeper suffered an injury during the scramble in front of the goal and was down for several minutes before being taken off the field on a cart.
With 31:11 left in the game, a shot by Xavier’s Emily Chiao hit the crossbar, but Hook was there for another rebound and scored to make it 3-0. It was Hook’s third goal in the first two games.
Freshman Kyla Ferry headed the ball into the net for a 4-0 lead with 24:07 left. And sophomore Hannah Hale sent the ball back in after a shot bounced off one of the goal posts for a 5-0 advantage with 5:45 left in the game.
Once again, Xavier coach Barb Chura was encouraged by her team’s effort.
“Tonight, the biggest thing was that we got to play everybody and got a longer look at them to see what they can do. It’s great to have depth,’’ Chura said.
Playing a third game in the same week is not something Chura prefers to do, but the Gators will deal with it and will play just one game next week (vs. Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday at home) before playing in in the Excalibur Soccer Invitational the week between Christmas and New Year’s at Santa Ana, Calif.

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